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Flushing Councilman holds office hours in 5 libraries

Finding office space in downtown Flushing can be difficult. Just ask City Councilman John Liu (D-Flushing).

After being elected as Flushing’s new councilman to replace Julia Harrison in November, Liu began to search for a spot for his district office, eventually finding a place on 39th Avenue.

But the location did not have a certificate of occupancy, the city’s approval of a location for habitable use. Liu had to abandon his plans to move in.

“I thought I was all set,” said Liu.

Having served as a councilman for six weeks, Liu is still without a district office.

His solution?

Liu has decided to hold office hours in five public libraries throughout his district.

Having started his office hours Feb. 2, Liu said the meetings have so far worked out well.

“It’s to make it easier for the constituents to come to meet me,” said Liu. “I’m very lucky [the libraries] are spread out.”

Joe Catrambone, a spokesman for the Queens Borough Public Library system, said the libraries are providing spaces to Liu free of charge.

“We’re actually acting as community partners,” said Catrambone. “It’s a great partnership. We’re very excited about it.”

Catrambone said the libraries were not providing offices to Liu; instead the councilman has received in each library a “quiet corner.”

“It’s off in the corner,” said Catrambone. “It doesn’t bother library patrons.”

Catrambone said the library was open to allowing the facilities to be used by other council members.

Liu said that once he does move into an office, he plans to continue the hours in the libraries. He said the hours primarily were designed to help senior citizens, many of whom find it difficult to travel to downtown Flushing.

Liu had considered taking Harrison’s office on the corner of Roosevelt Avenue and Main Street. But the building is closed on Sundays, and Liu said he wanted to make sure his office was open seven days a week.

Moreover, the rent was high.

“It was too costly,” said Liu.

Liu said he was new to the process of looking for an office.

“I’ve never rented commercial office space before,” said the 35-year-old Liu.

He said that he occasionally misses office hours due to city council meetings. To confirm if Liu will attend the hours, call Mabel Law at 359-0049.

Liu’s office hours are:

Mondays, East Flushing Library at 196-36 Northern Blvd. from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Tuesdays, McGoldrick Library at 155-06 Roosevelt Ave. from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Wednesdays, Mitchell Linden Library at 29-42 Union St. from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Thursdays, Queensboro Hill Library at 60-05 Main St. from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturdays, Flushing Library at 41-17 Main St. from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 141.

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